Baked Beans

I do realize that I have (probably – mostly) posted about this before. It is one of those not-recipe recipes. This is a mix of my mom’s baked beans and my former mother-in-law’s baked beans. But it really is something special. I am glad to be the one who mixed these two recipes together.  And I am really glad that that had a great mom and one of the best mother-in-laws. And for many years I have had another mother-in-law that I love like a mom.  D&D_1442

It is kind of stupid, but also ironic, that I use Bush’s* vegetarian beans but top them lots and lots (and lots) of bacon. I do kind of like that the vegetarian beans are kind of neutral so I get to flavor them the the way I want. That means lots of brown sugar, mustard (yellow = more vinegar), yellow onion,  Worcestershire sauce, and baking it slow and easy. That is how baked beans work. This is not something you can rush at all. Nope.

When the Boy and I had a Wednesday Night Cooking Class about this, the most important thing I could tell him about this is test the flavors before you put this in the oven. Figure out the balance – do you need more of something to balance this out. Because if you cannot figure that out before putting it in the oven, you will not be happy. Baking only concentrates the flavors. But when you top the whole thing with lots of bacon, that somehow fixes everything.

* My favorite brand of beans. Dog not withstanding. He’s cute, but …

 

January – March 2016 – Food “Holidays” Recap

Super Bowl – February 7

Spiced Pecans * Roast Beef Horseradish Sandwich * Bacon-wrapped Fruit Bites * Buffalo Rolls * Proscuitto Fontina Pinwheels * Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Torte *

Mardi Gras Pot Luck – February 9

Mardi Gras Sugar Cookies *  Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Torte *

Margarita Day – February 22

Leap Day – February 29

Apple Carrot Cupcakes *

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Apple Carrot Muffins – slightly amazing. And, no. I’m not bragging.

Pi Day – March 14

Apple Walnut Pie *

Butter Pie Crust *

St Patrick’s Day – March 17

Guinness Brownies *

Easter – March 27

Not sure yet, but I have a few days to sort it out. Yikes.


Bacon-wrapped Dried Fruit

D&D_1189I have made this play on the dried fruit wrapped in bacon thing once before, but I have no notes on it. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. I usually make comments if something is good or something bites. So I’m trying this again in a bit if faith that I can make it work. The flavored sounded great to me especially if I add my spin to stuff the dried fruit with some Bleu cheese which is always a good thing, in my opinion.

Cooking spray
12 Turkish-style Apricots, or Pitted Prunes
6 sliced bacon
Some kind of cheese to stuff in the fruit

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil and then add a baking rack on top. Spray baking rack with cooking spray.

Cut each slice of bacon in half cross-wise, about 4 inches long. Use a sharp knife, slit fruit down the middle, but not all the way through. Stuff with whatever cheese (and or nuts) you would like. Make sure you close it up. Then wrap with bacon. Secure with a toothpick and place on the rack seam side down and bake for 10 minutes. Turn with tongs and bake 10 minutes more. Rest for few minutes – really hot dried fruit can burn you – it’s the sugar.

Serve with lime wedges. Oh, yep, I’m so doing that. Citrus makes everything better.

Super Bowl 50

Source: Mollie Katzen – Get Cooking 2009 – great cookbook to get you started in the kitchen. My first experience with Mollie Katzen is probably the same as everyone else. Moosewood Cookbook, I’ve had this book for years – my edition is the 15th anniversary version from 1992 which if I do the math correctly means the book is 39 years old.

Notes: the Bleu cheese leaked out a bit which was unfortunate.  I did get them ready and refrigerate because I worried about that, but it was still a problem. 20 minutes did the bacon perfectly. The ones where the cheese stayed in were awesome, the others were good too, but in general I was a bit bummed about it. Need to figure out how fix it.

I will do this again to be sure. Just need to sort out the minor issue.

Bacon Cheese Chive Muffins

You know when you see a picture of something that looks good and then read the recipe and go, well, crap. I had not really D&D_0380thought about making something like this until I received an email from all recipes.com that had, what I would consider was a bit of inspiration.
I had all the major parts of the recipe at home and for once, wasn’t totally freaked out by a “cream of – insert crap word here” soup. I just didn’t use it. Ugh, so gross. Sorry. I have seen some recipes on pinterest that do the “no creamed soup” recipes, and I applaud them. Quite vigorously. It just seems wrong to add something so processed to something that you are, pretty much, making from scratch. Especially when you really do not have to do it. I used sour cream as a substitute, and it worked really well. So I started thinking of things that made some sense and I hit on this. Makes 12 muffins.

So here is what I came up with a nod to the original.*

8 slices of thick cut bacon

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp table salt

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder (Thank you Penzys!)

4 tsp fresh chives, snipped with kitchen shears

1/3 cup Parmesan, finely grated

1/2 cup Gruyere, grated

1/2 cup sharp Cheddar, grated

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup canola oil

Place bacon in a large sauté pan. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Easiest way. Start with a cold pan and add just enough water to cover the bottom. This keeps the spattering down. By the time the water is gone, the bacon has rendered. {Remember to save those bacon drippings} Drain on paper towels on a plate, and crumble, and set aside. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line muffin pan with liners and spray with non-stick spray. 

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, garlic powder, chives, Parmesan cheese, and, Cheddar cheese 

In a large measuring cup, combine egg, milk, sour cream. and vegetable oil. Stir this mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Add the bacon. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin pans.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

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22 August 2015

Bacon Cheddar Chive Muffins.

These were really great. I liked them spilt and toasted for breakfast with some salted butter on them. I mean, bacon, cheese, and, um whatever else. I am ever grateful to my friends at the office for trying them and for, what I hope, are real opinions.
Would like to try again, with some variations. Sausage, I think will be involved. And cheddar.

German Potato Salad

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Yukon Gold German Potato Salad

When we first moved to Pensacola, there was a restaurant in Gulf Breeze called The Creamery. You must understand that Gulf Breeze is only three miles across a bridge from Pensacola. The Creamery was a local mom and pop restaurant with great sandwiches, salads, German fare …. and they made their own ice cream – hence the name. The family that owned the place, the Schroeders, were always there and we really enjoyed going. At the time the Boy was young so ice cream was a draw, but he loved their club sandwich too. German food always has the MotH’s interest, so it was a win all the way around. My father-in-law loved the German food too. Miss that man. Damn it.

My favorite part of the visit was without a doubt, the German potato salad. It was amazing, and I hold it up as the paragon of German potato salad. I would inevitably bring home a pint or so each time.

I have tried and tried to find something that comes close, but have had no luck. Nothing has touched it and that makes me sad. This version is really good. Not quite “my Creamery German potato salad” but – yep – pretty damn good. Finally, a German potato salad that is worth the effort. Thanks to Nancy Fuller.

1 3/4 pounds Yukon gold, diced in 1/2 inch pieces
5 slices bacon
medium yellow onion, diced
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, + extra for splashing
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
1/4 cup minced chives

Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Add salt and cook until potatoes will be easily pierced by a paring knife. Drain and put into a large bowl and sprinkle with rice wine vinegar. The potatoes will soak up the vinegar which is a very good thing.

While the potatoes cook, place bacon in sauté pan over medium low heat and cook till crisp. Remove bacon, but leave bacon drippings in pan. Drain bacon on paper towels, crumble, and set aside. Add the onion to bacon drippings, season with salt and cook until very soft. Add the chicken stock, vinegar, mustard, and bring to a boil and reduce a good bit – probably by half in my opinion. Pour dressing over potatoes and coat. Add chives and top with bacon crumbles. Serve warm or room temperature.

This is my modification of Nancy Fuller’s recipe of German Potato Salad. I think it is a great start to a German potato salad recipe and I did tweak it a bit.

14 August 2015

Right now, Yukon Golds are very inexpensive at the farmers’ markets, about .99 cents a pound and the potatoes are the size of somewhere between golf balls and baseballs. Very nice and cook up so well. These will always be my potato salad potatoes – I’ll leave the little red creamers for roasting – they are so like candy.

TBM (to be made) List

I read a lot of books – yep – I’m another kind of book nerd besides being a food nerd. Jane Austen, Colin Dexter, Agatha Christie, P.D. James. And cookbooks.

And I read other bloggers that like to read too. Apparently they all have a TBR pile – to be read. But I have figured out that I have a TBM list = To Be Made. It is an on going and ever changing list. No big surprise there. Lists are a thing with me which is kind of annoying. During the week, usually when I’m hungry, I write down things that sound good to make – it helps me make the grocery list – ugh yet another list – but then I get practical and start to cull the list of unrealistic things that I always seem to plan.

So right now, what are the things on my TBM list, you ask? – or not, as the case may be. Here’s the mental jumble that is my thoughts on being in the kitchen this upcoming week.

Roasted Potato Salad – with tiny new red potatoes.
Salted Caramel Sauce
Sugared Lemon Cookies – made them this week, by the way -Post to follow
Salted Lemons
Chicken Francese
Hot Pepper Jelly
Blackberry Jelly – from blackberries from a friend. In the freezer until I’m ready.
Cheddar Pepper Jelly Thumbprint. These are so good.
Pecan or Walnut Tassies
Brown Sugar Pecan Scones
Off-to-bed Butter Cookies
Lemon Doughnut Muffins
Pecan Cream Cake
Bacon Wrapped Dates
Couscous Salad – unless the Boy drinks all the orange juice. Which I am pretty sure he will.

There it is. My list of lists.

Baked Beans – not a recipe at all.

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My cobbled together baked bean

This is not a recipe. Consider it a guide line of sorts because that’s really all it is. This is a comforting food to me. It reminds me of many things all at once. This started largely on my mom’s recipe, but modified into more of my former mother-in-law’s recipe. Loura used to serve it as part of Thanksgiving in her special bean pot. The bean pot was kind of a robin’s egg blue – really pretty. I had never knew anyone who made baked beans for Thanksgiving, but it totally works. I mean it. Really.

These beans are tangy, sweet, mustardy, oniony, and smokey with bacon. But for many years I did a vegetarian version and still do when I don’t happen to have bacon in the fridge. I buy Bush’s vegetarian baked beans to start because they are blank canvas-ish (they were on sale this week, buy one get one – yeah!) and then doctor it up with the favors I like best.

So here are the ingredients:
28 ozs can Bush’s vegetarian baked beans (a pantry staple)
Small to medium yellow onion, minced – I happen to like lots of onion in my baked beans
Worcestershire sauce – required – well, pretty much everything here is required. It is.
Brown sugar
Mustard, yellow or Dijon – I prefer Dijon now, but either will do.
Bacon – not necessary, but really good.

Set oven to 350 degrees. Bake the mac n cheese first. Oh yeah these two things go together well. Anyway. That’s another recipe for another time. Another family recipe.

In a baking dish – I use a blue ceramic baking dish from Portugal that’s about 10″ by 7″ that I purchased in a Stein Mart in Durham, NC, and one can of beans works perfectly. I just mix everything else in there, but not the bacon – that’s for the top – again not a recipe. Here’s the thing though – you really have to taste it after mixing the beans, Worcestershire, brown sugar, onion, and mustard together and decide if you like the flavor  – is it well balanced? If you don’t like it then – well, you won’t like it any better when it’s become more intense after baking. So taste and adjust. It’s pretty important.

I wish I could give you an exact recipe, but sometimes you just can’t and that means you’re just making food you love. Is there anything wrong with that? I think not.  Thanks to Becky and Loura. Great inspirations.